On Tuesday, a federal judge in Louisiana ordered some agencies and Biden administration officials to stop communicating and meeting with social media companies on content moderation, Reuters reported.
US District Court Judge Terry Doughty of the Western District of Louisiana, who is overseeing a lawsuit brought against administration officials by the attorneys general of Louisiana and Missouri, ruled that federal agencies like the FBI, Homeland Security, and the Department of Health and Human Services, could no longer coordinate with social media platforms to urge, encourage, induce, or pressure them to censor content that is protected by the First Amendment.
The lawsuit was originally filed in November 2022 by Attorneys General Eric Schmitt of Missouri and Jeff Landry of Louisiana. After Schmitt was elected to the Senate, the new Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey took over the case.
In an interview on Fox Business, Senator Schmitt lauded Judge Doughty’s injunction, calling it a win for free speech and a blow to government censorship.
In his injunction, Judge Doughty specifically named DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency head Jen Easterly.
The judge’s order included some exceptions to the injunction, specifically for communications that include warnings about potential criminal activity or risks to national security.
On Thursday, the Associated Press reported that the Justice Department filed to stay Judge Doughty’s injunction, arguing that the order could prevent the government from “engaging in a vast range of lawful and responsible conduct.”
In its request to stay the order, Justice Department officials argued that the injunction would prevent the administration from working with or speaking to social media platforms “on matters of public concern” and on “initiatives to prevent grave harm” to the public and “our democratic processes.”
The Justice Department claimed that the harm to the federal government from Judge Doughty’s injunction “outweigh any risk of injury” to the plaintiffs in the case.